BCC Survey Points To Improving Economy

11th April 2014

A Quarterly Survey From The BCC Has Found Signs Of An Improving Economy A new survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has found signs of optimism across the UK.

 For both manufacturing and services, all major balances and benchmarks for the first quarter of 2014 were stronger than long-term averages and most are now higher than they were at pre-recession levels in 2007. Export sales were the key driver of this and the UK is starting to increase the attention of investors in countries like China, Brazil and South Africa so that it can drive forward productivity. John Longworth, director general of the BCC, said the picture across the UK is "positive" and that the determination of UK SMEs is helping to boost the wider economy as other countries struggle. "We are brilliant at services and very successful at exporting our knowledge-based industries all over the world. This includes everything from accountancy and marketing through to literature and the IT sector," Mr Longworth continued. "In addition, our dynamic, high-value manufacturing sector is once again confounding expectations, and going from strength to strength. But UK firms are ambitious, and more support is needed." David Kern, chief economist at the BCC, added that the results are encouraging, but reminded businesses that there are a number of challenges remaining. The analyst stated that personal debt levels in the UK are too high and need to fall if the nation is to maintain its growth levels, before adding that Britain has the largest structural debt in the G7 and must do all it can to reduce this. Labour believes the government is not doing enough to pass on the benefits of recent financial good news, regularly referencing a "cost of living crisis" that is leaving poorer people unable to afford basic goods and services. The government denies this and believes its economic policies, which have led to an increase in employment, will see its voter share improve in the 2015 elections, which are due to take place in May. Steve Beahan, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, said: -Irwin Mitchell welcomes the findings of this report and we certainly echo the BCC's call for greater support for ambitious UK firms. -Small and medium-sized companies continue to drive much of this growth we are seeing in the UK, but it is vital that this positive start to the year is maintained. Real progress appears to be made in relation to exporting and this must continue if we are to develop a balanced and sustainable economy. -We support initiatives such as Export Week, particularly as it has encouraged and enabled many businesses here in the UK to develop international trade links for the first time. There are huge opportunities here but also plenty of challenges which SMEs must seek expert professional opinion on in order to ensure they deal with them most effectively.

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